Women in Science Profiles
Dr. Mira Trebar
The quick development of computer science and my lecturing experience have a strong effect on my research work which is quite diverse and was at the beginning tightly bound to research from the field of hardware. Lately, however, it is becoming more and more focused on the methods of soft computing. The studies in computer science themselves were actually constantly bound to research as computer producers as well as computer users are continuously searching for new, faster and better solutions. I got acquainted with research work when I was preparing my BSc thesis which included the analysis of the existing central processing unit of a computer and the development of hardware and software for its improved version. After finishing my studies at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering I became actively involved in research and development of computer hardware and software. For the company Iskra Delta from Ljubljana we in 1984 finished our research with a working prototype of a central processing unit PDP 11/34. I have participated in several research projects which were financed by the Ministry of Science and Technology as well as by many different companies. The research was focused on the processing of the picture taken by a thermovision camera and on tracking of moving objects. We used learning methods of neural networks for tracking moving targets in a twodimensional picture. Learning models and the study of neural networks and their application were later on a part of research activity which enabled the prediction of time series with classes of similar patterns. Some cases disclosed interesting solutions which showed us several possibilities for further research in optimization of modular neural network of classes and were presented at international conferences. I also participated in designing and construction of a controller which enabled the improvement of the production line for rubber profiles. Together with my colleagues at the Laboratory for Adaptive Systems and Parallel Processing at the Faculty of Computer and Information Science I furthermore participate in international projects through which we can exchange our knowledge and new information with researchers from other countries. In recent time I have been mainly dealing with the development of parallel algorithms in distributed systems and models of soft computing in which two different learning methods are used – neural networks and SVM models (Support Vector Machine models). The latter are nowadays widely used for solving a number of problems of pattern classification and prediction.
When I think about science or women in science, it seems to me that this is an occupation like any other. This is why research becomes a part of your everyday work – a part of your life, actually. I decided to study computer science, which in the eighties was just starting to develop here in Slovenia, because I was curious, I was searching for something new and I did not think much about the effect this would have on my life. After I had graduated I registered for an MSc degree, started teaching and found employment in a company where I worked as a researcher. Later on I started working as an assistant at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. In this way lecturing became my occupation and scientific research, actually, was not my main objective any more. It has become more and more bound to publishing research articles. This requirement must be fulfilled by all lecturers if they want to promote. The field of computer science itself constantly demands further education and training and this is why I do not have much time left for research. The reason for this can be found primarily in the loose connection between lecturing and research. My working week is often completely full so I sometimes do not have much free time. This means that I have to be at work in the morning as well as in the afternoon and that from time to time some things need to be done also in the evenings and at weekends. My work does not stop at four in the afternoon and this is why I often need support and understanding of my family. Science is namely an inherent part of my occupation.
The article (in Slovene) Creativity and Free Thinking before the Career: A Group Portrait of Nine Women who all holds PhD in ICT, by Jasna Kontler-Salamon, published in Delo, 18.5.2006, presents the exhibition Women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science in Slovenia. Nine women with PhDs in Computer and Information Science, one of them is dr. Mira Trebar, reflect on their experience of being a woman in science.